Understanding The Many Different Facets of Website Downtime

In today’s Internet-driven society we all know how crucial website monitoring is in avoiding unnecessary downtime. We also know that avoiding downtime is necessary to the success of any website. However, that knowledge is often only skin deep and stops with those two facts. Here we will discuss the many facets of how downtime can affect your business and why tools, such as a quality website monitoring service, play such a crucial role in helping your website attain its full potential in regard to online success.

The Five Primary Causes of Website Downtime

Almost all instances of website downtime can be attributed to one of five main causes. These causes include planned downtime, operator error, malicious hackers, component errors, and natural disasters. While there are ways to manage certain bouts of downtime with minimal user impact, such as with planned downtime, there are some forms of downtime that you just can’t predict, such as natural disaster or malicious hackers. Because you can’t predict this type of downtime, you must be sure you are at least prepared for it.

What Happens If You Don’t Prepare for Downtime?

If you don’t prepare for downtime with certain failsafes, there are several ways in which website downtime can present itself. In some cases, it will be in the form of hijacked webpages. In other cases, it will be in the form of completely dead webpages. HTTP errors and slow load times (in the case of soft downtime) are other ways in which website downtime presents itself.

How Does Downtime Really Affect Your Business?

There is no doubt that website downtime causes end-user frustration and lost sales. Issues caused by downtime, however, run much deeper than that. It causes reduced overall customer satisfaction and even affects customer trust and loyalty. If your website goes down often and for extended periods of time it can affect those hard-won search engine rankings. If a potential investor happens to stop by your website when it is down, it can affect your ability to raise capital. The list goes on, and all of these issues have one thing in common – they eat into your business’s bottom line.

How to Avoid the Disastrous Effects of Website Downtime

While it can be difficult, if not impossible, to keep your end users from experiencing any downtime at all, you can keep downtime to an absolute minimum by implementing the following tools into your anti-downtime arsenal.

1. Utilize a Quality Website Monitoring Service

The first rule that you need to adhere to when it comes to website downtime is that you never want to be the last to know. In fact, you should know about downtime the moment it happens and never a minute more. This is where a quality website monitoring service comes into play. You’ll be alerted of downtime the moment it occurs so you can get to work putting your failsafes into play, ensuring that your end users don’t see much, if any, of the downtime on their end.

2. Invest in DNS Backup Service

Quite a bit of downtime can be attributed to a site’s DNS. With a DNS backup service in place, the service constantly grabs your DNS data and backs it up so you can put it into play should your primary DNS go down.

3. Use Backup Hosting

Always have a copy of your site hosted with a backup hosting provider. This way, if your primary web host goes down, you can redirect to your secondary host where your site won’t be affected. Just ensure that the TTL of both hosts is as close to immediate as you can get and that the hosts are not connected in any way. Many hosting providers utilize the same servers, and if you use two different hosting providers that use the same servers, it will defeat the whole purpose of paying for a backup hosting service. Because of this it is essential that you ensure the two are completely unrelated in any way.

4. Use Software Escrow Services

If you utilize an SaaS provider and that provider goes down, your site is going to face some significant issues. If you’re using a software escrow service, however, you’ll always have a working copy of your site’s software, ensuring nothing goes awry for long.

5. Use Appropriate Downtime Codes

Make sure you always have appropriate downtime codes and messages in place. This ensures your visitors aren’t left wondering what has happened to your site. For example, using a 503 code (service unavailable) and a note saying your site is undergoing issues and will be back up as soon as possible while you put your failsafes into place is a lot better than having bots and customers run into a 404 code, which means the site is not found.

By keeping the above in mind and utilizing the recommended tools and practices, you can ensure that your website’s growth and success are not hindered by troublesome and unnecessary issues with website downtime. Alertra can help! Contact us today to make sure your site constantly monitored.